Richie Barker has praised Steve Coppell’s Pompey presence but insisted: The buck stops with me.
The duo have resumed their Crawley double act at Fratton Park, following Barker’s dismissal by the Reds two weeks ago.
While the 38-year-old is the Blues manager, Coppell has been recruited as director of football – a role which comes with no contract or pay for the ex-Reading boss.
Barker clearly enjoyed working with Coppell during their Crawley time together.
They led the club to the highest-ever position in its history.
Yet there can be no questioning who is in charge.
Barker said: ‘If Steve was sat here now he would say “He’s the manager”.
‘I think his quote was he has about two per cent effect – the other 98 per cent is down to me.
‘They are his words, not mine, so I think he will be well aware the buck stops with me – either positive or negative.
‘I will be on the training ground every day.
‘Steve will come to the training ground but he doesn’t play any part in any of the training sessions.
‘He likes being about footballers. He likes being around football, so he will be there. He enjoys observing and giving feedback.
‘On match days he sits in the stand, and if he sees something for me at half-time, he will tell me what it is. If he doesn’t, he leaves me to it.
‘Steve likes sitting in the stand. He always used to do it in the first half as a manager. He thinks he gets a better view, and quite rightly so, but my job is the touchline.
‘I have my routine that Steve has fitted into pretty well, to be fair to him.
‘I have certain things I do at half-time and he comes down with any advice he has got.
‘He’s there to help me or be an assistant to me, but he is here to help everybody and the one thing Steve will talk about – with anybody – is football.
‘Anybody who needs to ask him the question, he will give them the answer.’
Coppell’s last job as manager was at Bristol City, where he left in August 2010.
At the time he cited he had lost his passion for management – then 18 months later was employed as a director of football at Crawley.
There he helped recruit Barker from Bury, striking up an instantly successful partnership.
Barker added: ‘Initially, his job was to find the next manager – that’s what they (Crawley) asked him to do.
‘After a while he was going to move on but enjoyed his time so much and the relationship we had that he decided he wanted to stay for longer.
‘Thankfully, he has taken this offer after I asked him to come here and decided he wants to give it a go as well.
‘He did say to me a while ago that he felt, as a pair, we maybe had a journey we could go on and he wouldn’t mind seeing where that journey took us.’